DUBLIN — Family played a big part in West Bladen senior Jerena Purdie’s decision to sign a letter of intent to play collegiate basketball at Methodist University. On Friday, she made it official.
Other schools showed some interest, but never moved up on the list.
“I kind of had my heart set on Methodist right from the start,” Purdie said. “It’s close to home, I like the coaches and it offers what I want academically.”
And one more thing: Her brother, Jerome, graduated from Methodist University in 2014.
The 5-foot, 10-inch center/forward averaged 7.5 points and six rebounds per game her senior season, helping to lead the Lady Knights to a 7-7 record in the Four County Conference and 12-15 overall after a trip to the Class 2-A playoffs.
“I think this is a great decision for Jerena,” said her high-school coach Rick Rhoda. “They’ve been trying to recruit post players the last couple of years and I think she will do OK.
“It’s a good school with excellent academic programs,” he added.
Purdie plans to major in chemistry at Methodist and eventually move toward becoming a pharmacist.
“I really like the school,” Jerena’s mother Connie said. “I am impressed with the campus and academics, and it’s close enough to home.”
Rhoda and Purdie each said there are some areas she will need to start working on to get ready for collegiate basketball.
“Conditioning will be a big key for her,” Rhoda said. “Along with mental toughness. She’ll need to work hard.”
Purdie added that she “will have to start working on my speed up and down the court.”
The Lady Monarchs, a Div. III college that plays out of the USA South Athletic Conference, was 7-19 overall last season and 5-9 in the conference.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.